Libyan Rebel Leader Warns Followers Against ‘Retribution’

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Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the National Transitional Council (and formerly Muammar Qaddafi's justice minister) made his first public address yesterday in Tripoli. As his forces halted their assault on the loyalist town of Bani Walid and prepared to renew attacks on Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte, Jalil told crowds gathered in Martyr's Square: “We are seeking to establish a state of law, a state of prosperity, and Islamic Sharia will be the basis of legislation." He also cautioned followers against “retribution" and "oppression," which he said would hinder the revolution. However, according to Amnesty International, his words might be too late. The group said that while the majority of human-rights abuses committed during the conflict can be attributed to pro-Qaddafi forces, the rebels have also been "complicit in serious violations":

The report refers to the lynching of black Africans suspected of being mercenaries hired by Col Gaddafi, as well as revenge killings and the torture of some captured pro-Gaddafi soldiers.

Amnesty said a full picture had yet to emerge, but said it had asked Libya's opposition leadership to take steps to rein in its supporters and investigate any abuses, and to combat xenophobia and racism.

Meanwhile, Qaddafi remained at large, though he issued a brief statement after loyalist troops killed seventeen guards outside an NTC-run oil refinery, saying "We cannot give up Libya to colonization one more time," along with his standard pledge to "fight until victory."

Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Libyan Leader, Calls For Democratic State With Strong Civic Institutions [AP/HuffPo]
Libya's rebel forces committed abuses, says Amnesty [BBC]
Gaddafi forces kill 17 at oil refinery [Guardian UK]